Monitoring of Sanitation (Cleaning & Disinfection) 

Sanitation in food processing facilities not only improves food safety and quality, but also plays an important role in extending the shelf life of food products. This is achieved by reducing the microbial load on equipment and other production surfaces, which lowers the number of microorganisms that end up contaminating food products during processing and packaging. Therefore, it is critical for food producers and processors to have a robust sanitation monitoring program in place to verify that cleaning and disinfection are effective. The monitoring of these processes involves various methods, such as visual inspections, microbial testing or organic residue measurement (protein and ATP). Microbiological methods are considered superior to other sanitation monitoring methods because they provide a direct measure of microbial contamination, and therefore a better estimate of the microbial risk incurred.

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Slow but Reliable vs. Fast but Less Dependable 

Producers and processors have traditionally relied on culture-based microbial tests to help evaluate whether production environments are hygienic. Even though such methods can be reliable, especially if action thresholds are adjusted over time through continuous improvement, they are also time-consuming and retrospective. The advent of ATP measurement allowed manufacturers to partially bridge the gap between reliability and speed. Moreover, it allowed them to take better focused action through targeted cleaning. With results available in almost real-time, action can be taken (→recleaning) prior to surface use or subsequent disinfection. Although ATP measurement became a well-established method to monitor cleaning, it cannot be used as a replacement for microbiological tests. The rationale behind ATP monitoring is different, offering proactive and targeted cleanliness management, based on the supposition that areas high in ATP are likely to also harbor microorganisms. As most companies also sample for microbiological tests, they often discover that this supposition is not always accurate. The output from ATP monitoring instruments depends not only on the nature of the soil, but also on the presence of detergents or disinfectants. Some of the commonly used chemicals, such as quaternary ammonium compounds, can cause the enhancement or the quenching of the ATP signal, which may lead to considerable over- or underestimation of the level of organic soil.

Our Solutions for the

Monitoring of Sanitation

Impedance Flow Cytometry - CytoQuant®

The CytoQuant® mobile flow cytometer enables the immediate verification of cleaning and disinfection by counting bacteria and residue particles found in environmental samples, such as swabs from food contact surfaces or rinse waters. The device counts bacteria fast and accurately, enabling risk managers to take focused and effective pre-operational action.

CytoQuant® can also be an essential component of an early-warning system, allowing manufacturers to act before bacterial contamination becomes a problem. Through targeted and tailored sanitation programs, superior production hygiene can be achieved, enhancing product safety and shelf life.

Dip/Contact-Slides - HygieneChek™ Plus

The HygieneChek™ PLUS product line includes dip/contact-slides designed for the monitoring of microbial contamination in the food chain, as well as other sectors that require the control of microorganisms. These ready-to-use agar-based testing devices are recommended for the monitoring of operational food safety programs as well as overall manufacturing hygiene.

The range of agar types covers the determination of both indicator (e.g., total counts, coliforms, Enterobacteriaceae) and spoilage (e.g., total counts, yeasts and molds, lactic acid bacteria) microorganisms. Testing can be carried out regardless of access to a microbiological laboratory and requires little expertise to execute.

LFD Strips - RapidChek™ Total Protein

The RapidChek® Total Protein test is a colorimetric assay designed to screen production and processing surfaces for protein residue. The test is designed to help sanitation crews verify cleaning processes. It takes only 30 seconds and requires no additional equipment. Only the swab-pad comes into contact with the tested surface, so no clean-up after sampling is necessary.

Protein assays are a practical and cost-effective way to monitor cleaning and serve as an efficient complement to microbiological methods.

Sanitation Monitoring